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Moving Wall Trap w/ Existing Pieces
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TOPIC: Moving Wall Trap w/ Existing Pieces
Moving Wall Trap w/ Existing Pieces 5 Years, 6 Months ago  
Okay, I was watching Dungeons & Dragons the other day to see if it had any redeeming value. (No, it doesn't; yes, I'm seeking counseling.) Even looking at it from the perspective of "what would be interesting to recreate using Dwarven Forge", the only two things I found where in the Thieves' Guild maze scene.

There's a bit with swinging pendulum blades (which the thief bypasses by jumping from the blunt top of the blades to the next, seen in a couple-few movies), and the blades intrigue me. I think those could be done as a plastic accessory, the blade "just" touching its own base, and the shaft extending upward at an angle. Every phase/turn/round, the GM would move the piece to one end of the blade's arc, and the characters between those two points would (roll to avoid) take(ing) damage.

There is also a passageway covered in carved, colored eyes; it is trapped with flame spurts (set off by any eye except a red one), a closing exit at one end, and a moving wall that forces the thief down the passageway. This actually struck me as a potential piece for DF -- it is a simple shape, it is colorful and distinctive, and it represents a classic trap that hasn't been done yet. And maybe someday it will be done as a new DF item.

But we can already build it. We have the pieces.


Take a standard 6" Passage piece from ABS1. Take two, and put them end to end. The length of the passage is determined by how often you want players to make rolls, how many opportunities you want for characters to take damage, and how generous your movement rules are.

Using the movie example, you might have a character roll for "Find Traps" or DEX every time he moves -- failure makes flame spurts or acid sprays or puffs of poison or stabbing blades come out of the walls. If you want the moving wall to be a major factor, every failure forces the character to stay still (or back up) to avoid damage, giving the wall a chance to catch up and force movement.

If the moving wall isn't a major factor, or if you think the characters will try to dash through the trapped passageway, assign a number to each square in the passage and roll every time the character enters another square -- not only does each character have a chance of being hit themselves, they also have a chance of hitting another character with a trap effect. If the GM is feeling kind, a successful DEX roll at some interval might give the player a "freebie", and no trap effect goes off that square (or turn, or round).


At the "beginning" of the passageway (where the wall will start moving), use a Short Passage w/ Openings from ABS2 -or- put down a standard floor piece and a Short Passage piece opposite the 6" Passage. The entrance to this passageway has to be on one or both sides, as you need a standard 2" Straight Wall piece at the beginning end of the passageway -- this is the wall that will move down the passageway and crush your adventuring group. (I recommend putting the floor portion of the piece away from the passageway, so players don't get the idea that they can "ride on the moving floor tiles".)

The Straight Wall will begin "sliding" down the passsageway when the GM wants it to (players step out of the "safe zone", first trip-wire or pressure-plate is activated, someone says the magic word, whatever). The first thing that happens is that the entrance(s) to the passage disappear(s), so if you have a large group give some consideration to how you are going to get everyone into the passage before it is sealed by the trap. You might extend the beginning end so that the wall takes longer to get to the entrance(s) so players have time to react, or you might make the passageway itself longer so you can delay starting the wall.

I would move the wall forward 1" (one square) every turn/round. If you have a long passageway, and/or the party is getting way ahead of the wall, then have the wall accelerate based on their distance from it. Double its speed, or increase its movement by 1" every round/turn. The closer the wall is to the trailing members of the group, the more tension you'll have, and the more the players will talk about it when it is done. (If your party jokes about the wall being too slow, consider having it reappear as they go down other passages -- don't worry about it not making sense, if the players are metagaming that much then a running gag should fit right into the evening's play.)


At the "end" of the passageway (where the character(s) would get squished), put anything you like.

A door with a difficult lock, or a riddle that can only be read from close up.

A heavy portcullis that can only be lifted when the moving wall is within a certain distance.

A Dead End Short Passage that they have to dig through.

A Swiveling Secret Door, or a Spinning Medallion from RotA.

A Passage End Cap, if you know they have a teleportation or passwall spell handy (or even if they don't). Or, if you want them to backtrack up the Long Straight Passage w/ Brick-Sealed Side Passage and break through the bricked-up area.

A T-Shaped Intersection with two portcullises/doors can force the party to pick one path or the other, or it can break up a party to meet again later. One portcullis/door might have a lock, and the other might require strength to open it. Both portcullises/doors might be open, and each (or both) will slam shut when the door beyond is opened, or when the squares between the portcullis/door and the door beyond are filled. There might only be enough clear space in front of each portcullis or door for part of the group, and only open when the moving wall (with enough thickness to seal both branches) has divided your party into two groups (if they have a hireling or expendable henchman, this is the time to get rid of the NPC).


If you want to dress this up a bit (or create a visual logic puzzle for your players to solve), design a new floor and print it out on paper or transparency. Cut it out and lay it on the floor of the passageway.

Characters might be able to follow a path of colors or shapes on the floor, or they might be able to jump from one safe spot to another, or they might have visual cues that show what happened to previous adventurers. (Establish a nice pattern for safe travel, then obscure it with a huge red smear -- your players will love you for it!)

Okay, that's probably way too much information for a lazy Sunday morning, so I'm going to go find breakfast. Let me know what you think, or share your own ideas about new traps we can make with existing pieces.
Minotaur Lord
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